Stories of Others on the Same Journey
Sometimes it's hard to visualize what it might look like to make the transition to an assignment in ministry. Here are the experiences of some of your peers:
Dustin & Marcia Price
About two years ago my wife and I were being led to leave our field of service in China and transition back to the States, but it was clear to us that we were still called to stay involved with missions. It was a transition situation that we were very unfamiliar with. The more we explored, the more we felt we were on our own. That is when someone told us about Finishers Project. The bridge that Finishers provided for us during this critical transition was invaluable! Through Finishers we were able to connect with several organizations that eventually utilized our relationships with the Chinese church to partner with them. I was able to serve as a consultant of sorts. Now that we are back in the States and working in full time ministry positions, we still have strong working relationships with the ministries we connected with through Finishers. It was truly a bridge that the Lord used that blessed us beyond what we could have planned for or even known to ask for! Thank you and God bless.
Gregg & Jennifer Bartholomew
We attended the Finishers Forum in Hudson, OH a little more than two years ago. We accepted positions with Wycliffe Associates a little over a year ago. We are hoping to finish up our partnership development soon and be heading to Nairobi, Kenya, before the end of the year. Jennifer will be working in the Bible translation office, and I'll be a regional construction coordinator in about 40 different countries in Africa, overseeing Bible translation offices being built. In saying all of this, I wanted to thank you for making this possible. It's been a long road, but well worth the travel. I've come to the conclusion, it's not how you start the race...but how you finish. Our goal is to finish strong. I hope this will encourage others to get involved.
I learned about Finishers Project from a friend at church and completed a Service Profile on their website. The Finishers site was a HUGE help; the website was very easy to use and a WONDERFUL way to narrow things down. I ended up talking to about five agencies, based on my matches, and then narrowed it down further to about three that I seriously considered. After further discussion, I decided that WorldVenture was the best fit for me. God is great at orchestrating things!
AND NOW I am very happy to announce I have FULL CLEARANCE to depart for Uganda. That means I am fully funded and medically cleared to GO. I leave for the field in just a few short weeks. Though the journey has felt VERY long at times, I KNOW this is GOD’s timing, and HE has moved mountains these last few weeks to make that clear. (more)
Billy and Alice Walkemeyer
As I wind down our two years here in Manila and prepare to head back to the U.S. I think back to how I have changed during this time. I am no longer confused or find it odd when a waitress or a store clerk tells me “for a while” and walks away. I also don’t think it is strange to walk through a security check point where a guard passes a metal detector wand over me in order to enter the shopping mall. Or the fact that many stores have a guard at the door - many with a firearm.
It seems very natural that I walk almost everywhere I go. I walk to work, to the mall, to the grocery store, to church, to go out to eat, pretty much everywhere. And when I do drive, the chaos of the roads is no big deal. What is wrong with turning right from three lanes over to the left? The sight of ladies using umbrellas to walk around in the sunshine and the sight of men holding a handkerchief, or bag, or a piece of cardboard to keep their head “dry” in a rainstorm now seems perfectly normal.
All of these things were very strange and just seemed wrong when we first arrived, but now they are a part of everyday life, I don’t give them a second thought.
I realize that the environment in which I live has a tremendous effect on my outlook and behavior. I have come to realize even more than before that our opinions, our thoughts, and our actions are rooted in the context of our environment. I am thankful that I have had this opportunity to live abroad and to have my sense of what I think is “normal” and “right” stretched. (more)
Paul and Susan Olmstead
In 2009, Paul and Susan Olmstead had no idea of the journey that lay before them.
They had always had a desire to be involved in full time ministry. Paul grew up in a Christian home where from his earliest recollections he attended church and Sunday school. Being involved in ministry was taught as important functions in his family life.
Susan also grew up in a Christian home and during a summer VBS at their church, she dedicated her life to Jesus. She met Paul at Liberty University where she was enrolled in Missions and Cross-Cultural Studies.
Through the years they had many “midnight talks” about ministry, but it was in 2009 that a missionary friend planted a seed about working in missions. In fact, his statement was to the effect, “If you ever decide to leave your full-time position with Chase, there are a lot of roles in missions that could use your 25+ years of experience and talents.” That seed began to grow, and in the fall of 2010 they began an exploratory journey to be (more)
Tom and Carol McLennan
A faded sheet of yellow notebook paper fluttered to the floor: God’s plan unfolded before our eyes. The sheet was falling out of an old favorite book. Curious, I bent over and picked it up. I saw my own handwriting and a date from six years earlier. As I read, I was stunned. This was a document testifying to the unexpected but obvious working of our faithful God in those intervening years.
It was 2002; the sheet of paper was dated 1995. I had written the question, "Should we go to Russia?" Under the question, I had written nine reasons why we should go. However, I had also listed 15 reasons why we should not go. (more)
Dave & Linda Cunningham
We would like to thank Finishers Project for helping us find God’s calling to a ministry. We were living in Denver and had reached the time in our life when we were ready for retirement, but we knew that retirement without following God’s leading would be wasting our last years. We wanted our last years to be filled with work for God’s Kingdom, but needed God’s leading as to where we should go. After filling out the Finisher’s Project profile, we were immediately referred to Wycliffe Bible Translators. We learned that there are still 2,000 people groups (about 340 million people), who do not yet have God’s Word in their own language. We know what a comfort our Bible has been in times of trial. In this country, we can pick up our Bible and find words of comfort and solace, advice, encouragement, and inspiration, anytime we need it. Imagine if we had no Bible at all! So we were convinced that God was leading us to serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators. But the Wycliffe location we felt called to was in Orlando, Florida, and we were in Denver. (more)
Lyle & Lorri Carlson: Serving at OM’s Headquarters
Over the last five years several things occurred simultaneously. We began to understand more of God’s desire that all nations will know Him and that all Christ followers have the opportunity to participate in His work. We increasingly experienced restlessness in our professions and lacked the affirmation that our work was worthwhile. The relationships were valuable but not the work itself. We also began to have a sense of urgency; that time is passing quickly and we have limited years left to make a difference with our lives.
We were first introduced to Finishers Project through the Pathways to Global Understanding course held in our hometown of Prescott, Arizona. (more)
Rob & Marlene Osborn, Working with Internationals Here at Home
I attended the spring Finishers Forum conference at Hudson Community Chapel in Hudson, Ohio. I am still in awe of how the Lord has put wonderful internationals into our lives right here at home after thinking we would have to go abroad for such richly diverse ministries. The Finishers Forum gave the vision; God continues to give the opportunities.
During one of the Bhutanese English Café table talks at Stow Alliance fellowship, we were sharing the Easter story when one of the men (who had been in a refugee camp for 19 years in Nepal) looked at Rob and said, “This makes sense, there can’t be a lot of different gods. There can only be one God.” (more)